Erma Bombeck (Jun 12, 2017) is credited with giving us this quote on worry: “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
It is a cute segue into thinking about worry and how we can biblically overcome the habit of worrying even in today’s culture and social climate. It seems like these days there are so many with serious situations in our personal lives and in the lives of the ones we love and care about, plus there are very serious situations happening across the country and world. Let’s take a look and reflect on how we approach these things and what we can do to make positive changes in dealing with them.
The dictionary defines worry as a verb: to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
It is also defined as a noun: a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
To me, this sounds like a man-made condition and not a habit to elevate or celebrate. Do we really “need” to worry? Should we allow worry to become such a part of our lives for anyone to say “I am a worry wort” and think of it as a badge of honor?
I do not believe worrying and concern are interchangeable. Worry is a form of self-torment, best described as what-if thinking. Concern, on the other hand, is a calculated consideration and assessment of actual danger. Whereas worrying anticipates problems and things getting twisted up, concern is more fact-based and geared toward problem-solving. I’m fairly confident no one says they are a concern wort!
More important, we need to consider if worrying is a Christian quality?
The difference between worry and concern from a biblical perspective has to be framed in the context of how we face trouble. It’s the context of how we handle it and what we think about it that determines whether we are worried or concerned. In the Bible, we can discover that on a number of occasions God expressed concern, strong concern, over a situation. For example, God expressed concern for the family of Abraham because of the covenant He had made with Abraham (2 Kings 13:23
). In Ezekiel 36:21
, he said, “I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel violated…”
God doesn’t worry. Concern leads to positive action, but worry doesn’t consider the fact that there is no situation which God cannot reverse.
What is the bottom-line difference between worry and concern? When we shut God out of the loop, and we worry, we have lots of hopeless emotion. But put God between us and our problem, and we have concern because the problem is not hopeless because God is our hope. 1 Peter 5:10-11 (The Message) Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
Instead of “worrying” cry out to Jesus “Lord, this is much too big for me to handle on my own and it is causing me to worry and take my thoughts to places I know I should not go; I put (describe the situation) entirely in your hands.”
God always makes the difference. Jesus was right when He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”
(Matthew 6:34). May God forgive us for the times we have worried, for ourselves and for others, ignoring His care and concern and His power to change situations and lives.
Start today. Make an intentional quiet time to spend with God every day. View quiet times as daily “dates” with God. This is a time to sit with Him and discuss the day, discuss life, and just plain enjoy Him. Take the things weighing on your heart to the Lord. Have a conversation with Him FIRST
, instead of sharing your worries with others causing your worries to intensify. Trust God to hear you and love you through any situation. Remember, God came down to earth to make the Way back to Him from our sin-sick lives. He loves us that much. When we’re worried, it helps to ask God for help and then start thanking Him for everything we can think of to thank Him for, including His provision in any situation. Thankfulness stops worry
. We can’t guarantee that God will give us what we want, but we can guarantee that He’ll be enough even if we don’t get what we want. Thanks be to God!